Another new drive-through coronavirus testing facility is opening in Kent as part of the Government’s UK-wide drive to increase testing.
The site at Manston Airport Car Park in Ramsgate is in addition to sites already operating in Ashford and Ebbsfleet, plus mobile testing units deployed more locally around the county including Dover, Canterbury, Folkestone, Medway, Maidstone, and Sittingbourne.
Testing at the Manston Airport site will start on Tuesday 7 July, with more appointments available each day. Testing is available for everyone, including vulnerable groups and people with disabilities.
Anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, can get a free swab test that takes less than a minute. Tests should be booked or ordered as soon as symptoms begin at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
The site is part of the largest network of diagnostic testing facilities created in British history, including 70 drive-through sites, 11 walk-through sites, 125 mobile units, home testing and satellite kits and three mega laboratories.
Anyone testing positive for the virus in England will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to help them track their contacts. This will help people to identify who they may have been in close contact with, protecting others from further transmission.
Close contacts of those testing positive will also hear from NHS Test and Trace, advising them to stay at home for 14 days to prevent them from unknowingly spreading the virus. They will be advised to also book a test if they develop symptoms.
KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “In order to play our full part in reducing the spread of the virus we are ensuring that Kent and Medway have scaled up our capacity to test people for Covid-19.
“We fully support the opening of regional test sites for Ashford and Thanet in addition to Ebbsfleet. We remain concerned about the number of positive test results in these areas and therefore we welcome anything that helps to reduce the community infection rate. It is important that people help to ‘Protect Kent and Medway’ by continuing to follow national guidance if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 and access tests in their local area as quickly as possible and take the right action to recover or quickly get treatment.”
Health Minister Lord Bethell said: “The Government continues to scale up testing capacity for coronavirus, to protect the vulnerable, support our NHS, and ultimately save lives. This is supported by our NHS Test and Trace service, which will contact you if you test positive or if you have been in close contact with someone who has the virus.
“I urge anyone with symptoms to book a test today, and anyone contacted by NHS Test and Trace to follow their advice to protect those around them from the virus.”
Professor John Newton, National Coordinator for the UK Coronavirus Testing Strategy, said: “This is another opportunity to make testing easily available to anyone who needs it. Sites like this allow people who develop symptoms to quickly get a test and find out whether they need to stay at home with their household or can safely return to work or a more normal life.
“This whole programme has been a great example of collaboration between industries, business and the public sector, working together to build the capability needed to protect the population from coronavirus.”
The testing centre is being operated in partnership with Mitie and will offer self-administered tests.
Simon Venn, Chief Government & Strategy Officer, Mitie, said: “Our priority during the pandemic is to support the nation’s efforts to fight COVID-19 and help keep the country running. Testing is a critical part of the UK’s strategy to combat coronavirus and we’re proud to support the Government with this vital task. A big thank you to all the NHS staff, Mitie employees and other frontline heroes in Ramsgate, who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.”
In addition to the regional test sites, 125 mobile testing units operated by the Armed Forces are traveling the UK to offer coronavirus testing. They respond to need, setting up test sites at care homes, police stations and prisons.
The Government has set up a home-testing service, supported by Amazon’s logistics network and other commercial partners. Home test kits can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.
For more information on the ‘Protect Kent and Medway’ campaign support for the NHS Test and Trace service, go to www.kent.gov.uk/protectkent
NOTES TO EDITORS
- In England and Wales, the NHS free testing service is available to everyone.
- Everyone with symptoms can book or order a test at uk/coronavirus. Essential workers and members of their households can access priority testing at GOV.UK (https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers). Those unable to access the internet can call 119.
- The test involves taking a swab of the nose and the back of the throat, which can be done by the person themselves (self-administered) or by someone else (assisted). Those being tested may experience some mild discomfort but it should not hurt.
- The majority of tests done at Regional Testing Centres and Mobile Testing Units are returned within 24 hours, with 90% returned within 48 hours.
- NHS test and trace – How it works: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/nhs-test-and-trace-how-it-works#people-who-have-had-close-contact-with-someone-who-has-coronavirus
- See latest testing statistics here : https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public